In a memo issued on Tuesday, the National Football League (NFL) granted teams limited permissions to seek blockchain sponsorships as the technology continues to work its way into the hearts of fans and athletes. The announcement is a partial reversal of the body’s decision on these types of sponsorships made last summer.
The NFL said that after a thorough evaluation of the blockchain technology, it has decided to allow “promotional relationships without undertaking excessive regulator or brand risk.” The updated team guidelines, which are subject to the NFL’s approval, exclude stadium signage, and restrictions still remain in place for specific fan tokens and cryptocurrencies which can be used in exchange for merchandise and experience. “Clubs will continue to be prohibited from directly promoting cryptocurrency,” the memo added.
The memo which was issued days before the yearly NFL meetings, went ahead to say that “In this evolving regulatory environment, it remains essential that we proceed carefully when evaluating potential commercial opportunities involving blockchain technologies, and conduct appropriate diligence on all potential partners and their business models,” the memo reads.
Team owners will be briefed on the revised blockchain guidelines during the imminent yearly NFL meetings which will start on Saturday in Florida. The meeting will be the first since 2019 after the Coronavirus pandemic broke out.
The update comes after the NFL and the players union struck a deal with blockchain company Dapper Labs to produce video collectables. The NFL also approved media partners to allow blockchain advertisements during its games for the first time during the 2021 season. According to Joe Ruggiero, the NFL’s head of consumer products, these blockchain deals will not exceed three years. “We’re extremely bullish on blockchain technology. We think that it has a lot of potentials to really shape innovation, shape fan engagement over the course of the coming decade,” he said.
“Subject to League approval, Clubs may now accept advertising (without the use of club marks and logos, unless in connection with a League NFT deal) for NFTs and NFT companies,” the memo read adding that the NFL continues to forbid teams from “engaging in product licensing arrangements or sponsorships for NFTs or NFT companies (other than as permitted in connection with League-level NFT partnerships).”
“Everything is changing so quickly – we all have to be looking at the next areas of innovation. So, we’re spending a lot of time looking at where the future might go,” Joe Ruggiero, the NFL’s head of consumer products said explaining that the NFL will continue to evaluate the remaining restrictions on blockchain and its related technologies.